Stories make us human.
Our own stories attain the magical power to give us a certain vision of life. The stories of other cultures are curiosities to us because we stand outside that culture. We don’t have the same sense of history those other humans have.
Studies of myth does show, however, the many themes that pertain to the whole human experience, regardless of time or place. Eliade, Jung, Campbell and others have shown us the human family and its common psycho spiritual struggles, and how fables and myths helped focus and structure our spiritual progress.
These stories always had a magical element as well as a central truth about successes and failures on the path to wholeness. Told in a riveting style, with heroes, villains and fools, we are drawn into them. And our participation is essential.
From the Odyssey to Andersen’s fairy tales, from the East to the West, people revere their own stories.
And yet, they don’t know them as stories. They know them as Truth. They don’t see the messages concerning their own attitudes and assumptions about themselves and others.
They don’t learn the lessons of the stories because they take them literally.
These stories show the deeper mind of humans talking to their surface-mind.The surface mind is in the driver’s seat, or at least it thinks it is, but it needs to have a longer view, in my opinion.
Over the millions of years of evolution, the deeper human mind has seen patterns of behaviour and thoughts and their consequences. It speaks to these insights in symbolic language. That’s the only language it speaks. It’s an ancient language.
But in our time we don’t understand that language. We like facts, data. Truth must be verifiable. Data must be “hard.” We pride ourselves on being “realistic.”
I think art and old stories have combined with religion to mold human beings into functional societies all over the earth, but taking these stories literally reduces them to a reason for conflict with people who have different stories.
I’m simply saying that those differences are superficial. There are commonalities we overlook.
A closer look at world myths will reveal a family connection of human beings across the globe. Looking more closely at how the human mind talks to itself in dream-like symbolic language will help us know ourselves better as members of a large, varied and beautiful family.
- Anima Fire is my publication